Book Review: An American Family by Peter Lefcourt

Author: Peter Lefcourt

ISBN: 978-1-4675-2353-0

Publish Date: May 1, 2012

Pages:  355 Trade Paperback

Type: Fiction: General

Purchase: $3.99 at (Kindle Edition)


This is the saga of the Perl Family.  The family hierarchy starts with Uncle Meyer who is an immigrant tailor and his nephew is Nathan, a fabric-cutter and the patriarch of the family.  Nathan and his second wife, Lillian, raise: Jackie, a lawyer, who makes his way into politics despite his tendency to drink and gamble; Michael an entrepeneur who prides himself on providing well for his family; Elaine who is a wife, mother and school teacher who is hoping for more out of life; Stephen a succesful French teacher and author who struggles with his sexual preference; and Roberta (“Bobbie”) who is the rebel of the family who creates a succesful career in the music industry despite the odds.

The story of this family commences in 1963 and the novel takes you through the lives of each of these characters through 2001.


This novel was a tale of a Jewish family who loved each other not only for themselves, but despite themselves.   They held onto family traditions as much as they held onto one another for support and love through the triumphs and the tragedies of their lives.  Although it took me a bit of time to get the cast of characters familiarized, once I did, I was hooked on their stories.  Each character found a way into my head and my heart in such a way that I found myself wishing the best for them, feeling sorry for them, and wanting to discover what the next events in their lives were.   The span of history throughout the book reminded me of the cultural and political changes that our country has been through in that span of 40 years including the Vietnam War, the sexual revolution, musical eras, women’s lib, civil rights and 9/11.

Although it took me a bit longer to read through this novel, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I find that the richness of the characters drew me into the book in such a way that they will remain memorable long after my finish of the book.  The book was very well written, polished, and maintained all the elements that you would want out of a family history novel.  Again, the best part of the experience were the characters themselves.


I understand that Peter Lefcourt drew from his own family experiences in writing this novel.  I admire the way in which Lefcourt shared the tale of this family.   If you want a good book which you can really sink your teeth into and relive American history through the eyes of this dynamic family, I highly recommend this one.  I was emotionally moved by many components of the book, especially the dramatic ending.  Here’s to hoping that you have a Kindle!  Just in case you don’t, the author’s website can be found at

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1 Comment


One Response

  1. bermudaonion(Kathy)

    July 19th, 2012 at 5:27 am

    Sounds like a good book – I love the cover!
    bermudaonion(Kathy)´s last blog post ..Review: Canada

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